asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the grant provided by them in the current financial year to each local authority in England for the issue of concessionary bus passes; and how much the authorities estimate the concessionary bus passes will cost them in the current financial year; and [HL1524]
What will be the grant provided by them in the financial year 2008–09 to each local authority in England for the issue of concessionary bus passes; and how much the authorities estimate the concessionary bus passes will cost them in that financial year. [HL1525]
Travel concessionary authorities’ (TCAs) responsibilities for implementing the statutory minimum travel concession will generally result in costs in three areas: issuing passes, reimbursing operators, and administering the scheme.
The Government are paying a grant of over £31 million in total to TCAs in England outside London in this financial year (2007-08) to cover the cost of issuing concessionary travel passes. The amount of grant to London is to be confirmed. The grant to each TCA is based on £4 per pass currently in circulation, uplifted by 20 per cent to recognise that the new concession is likely to be more attractive than the existing one. It is not possible to say how much it will cost each TCA to produce passes as this will depend on a number of factors, including the state of their existing data on concessionaires and whom they have contracted with to produce their passes. Details of the grant to cover the cost of passes are available in a supplementary table to this Answer in the Library of the House.
The costs of reimbursing bus operators and administering concessionary travel schemes are generally covered by amounts included in the formula grant settlement for each TCA. TCAs do not separately identify the costs of administering the scheme in their returns to Government.
The department is also paying a special grant in the following three years (2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11) to cover the cost of improving the statutory minimum bus concession from free off-peak local travel to free off-peak travel anywhere in England. The proposed distribution of this grant is set out in a further supplementary table. The final distribution will be subject to a parliamentary debate in due course.